Maurice Bryant is still causing the Rattlers grief.
The one-time Arizona receiver, dumped last year after numerous runins with the organization, plays in Las Vegas these days and starred in the Gladiators’ overtime win against the Rattlers earlier this season.
Now, with a rematch Saturday at America West Arena, comments Bryant made recently have irked his former team.
"As the years went by, (the Rattlers) started to get two-faced and started doing things behind my back," Bryant is quoted as saying on www.lvgladiators.com.
Bryant took delight in trash-talking about former teammate Hunkie Cooper in the last meeting, saying "He’s a great athlete that’s been around a while and all that. But he just does a lot of shady stuff like talk about people behind their backs so I just wanted to rub it in his face."
"If it takes me to motivate him then he is in the wrong business because he plays me but twice a year. . . . You can’t reason with an unreasonable person," Cooper replied Wednesday after practice.
Bryant has missed the last two games with a quadriceps strain and is listed as questionable for Saturday.
"Maybe he’s not doing so well, maybe he is hurt, maybe they are saving him for us," coach Danny White said. "I hope Maurice plays because our guys are looking forward to it."
The Rattlers are in need of another win; at 4-5 they figure they need to close with a 6-1 mark to make the playoffs.
Cooper said the Gladiators (3-6) have only a "slim and none" chance of winning in Phoenix.
If Bryant can’t give the Gladiators some help, Vegas will take another blow. The Rattlers don’t fear Bryant, whose time in Arizona included his missing the flight to the 2002 Arena Bowl.
"When you can’t even make the team plane for the world championship game," vice president Gene Nudo said, "it makes you wonder about the guy’s dedication."